Preparing your Home for Sale

by Hello Blue
February 13, 2020
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Preparing a house for sale is an integral part of the home selling process. History has taught sellers, some the hard way, that it is just smart to begin prepping a home for purchase –

  • As early as possible, before the home is listed for sale.
  • In an organized fashion, like a room or section at a time. 

According to NAR – the National Association of REALTORS, the most common home improvement recommendations for sellers by real estate agents include the following –

  • Decluttering of the home 
  • Clean the entire home 
  • Remove pets for open-houses and other showings 
  • Carpet cleaning 

And while all of these above-noted suggestions are helpful, there are many other ways to prepare a home for sale that helps maximize a home’s showing potential and, hopefully, its sales price.  

By getting an early start, sellers proactively eliminate the unnecessary stress of worrying that they may not have time to finish. Many home staging and real estate professionals find that it is a good idea to start preparing your home for sale – starting from the outside and moving in. 

This guidance is smart because of the notion of curb appeal. Curb appeal is an attractiveness measure of a home’s exterior, as viewed from the street’s vantage point. Curb appeal is a vital home selling concept because many potential buyers never even make it past the front door.  So, the property’s exterior becomes, in essence, – the property’s calling card. 

Remember, when preparing a home for sale, think like a buyer to ensure you see what a buyer will likely see. 

Use Curb Appeal to Your Advantage

The concept of curb appeal has been shown to have a significant influence on a home’s sales price and the time the listing remains on the market unsold. The objective of maximizing curb appeal is to entice potential buyers to consider your home seriously – by scheduling an appointment with an agent for a private home showing.

Curb appeal covers a wide variety of simple to complex upgrades and renovations to gussy up any home’s exterior. Many curb appeal investments – like landscaping or the addition of a fire pit – often have a remarkable return on investment, with some landscape designs raking in up to 150% of the homeowner’s return!

Anything that impacts how a home looks from the street view is considered a part of the home’s curb appeal and design. This includes outdoor pathways, small benches in gardens, or gorgeous landscape architecture that is best viewed from afar.

Homeowners must recognize how important the curb appeal is for potential buyers as it has been shown that a poorly maintained home exterior leads to further suspicions about the inside of the home for sale. 

  • Mow the lawn and manicure the grounds.
  • Update and refresh the landscaping. 
  • Remove the weeds from walkways, flower beds, and even pavement.
  • Clean or update house numbers, so they are visible to potential buyers.
  • Take the time to freshen up the front door as it often acts as the primary focus of buyers. 

Don’t Let Buyers Drive Away…

A home’s exterior is its calling card and what a buyer will use to form their first impression. Be sure to make the home’s exterior inviting and welcoming so potential buyers will want to see the inside of the house right away.

Your Entrance Should Say Welcome

The entrance to a home is also an essential area to focus on when preparing a home for sale. While the home’s exterior lighting and landscaping should pique a buyer’s interest, the entranceway/hall should bring the sale home. 

The entrance to any home should be inviting and bright. This space should be designed to invisibly draw a buyer to want to see more. An entrance area or foyer should be uncluttered and easy to maneuver through with the minimalistic design.  

This is especially true for small entranceways where less is more. The reality is overcrowding; any area only makes space look smaller than it is.

Finish the entrance area with a little TLC. Make sure windows are cob-free and clean to allow as much light in the home as possible. 

Create Welcoming Spaces Throughout

When the home’s exterior and entranceway have been prepared for selling the house, homeowners should organize a plan that ensures each room, closet, and hallway in the home is clean and neat. If possible, a home for sale should be decorated as unmemorable as possible, as silly as that sounds.

Paint and artwork should be neutral to keep the home appealing to the most significant number of potential buyers. Appliances and items in the home should appear well-maintained and clean.

Some of these tricks can be done on a shoestring budget, and still, other projects are great for do-it-yourselfers, not afraid to put in a little sweat equity in prepping the house for sale.

Individual rooms have more significance when prepping a home for sale. According to buyers and buyer agents the 2019 NAR Home Stage Profile report, buyers ranked the following rooms regarding the importance of staging within them –

  • Living Room staging was most important for 47% of buyers.
  • Master bedroom staging was most important for 42% of buyers.
  • Kitchen staging was considered the most important for 35% of buyers.

Even simple additions like a new duvet or new pillows can make a stark difference in how a home shows. Cleanliness is visually appealing but has significant psychological impacts on buyers. 

Organize Your Storage

Many buyers individually scout out the available storage in a home when they are considering buying it. Reorganizing closets and donating unused items helps create more space and storage for interested buyers. Storage is especially important in those portions of the United States where basements are not possible due to high water tables, or attics are not built. 

Everything that applies to the organization of closets equally applies to drawer space throughout the home.

The Final Steps

The last step before listing your home for sale is to walk through your home with a watchful eye, viewing the space as if you were considering the purchase of the house.

Is there anything that stands out as out-of-place or dirty? 

Can a buyer move through the home with ease, without distraction, to appreciate what the house has to offer?

Remember to keep the home buyer in mind when prepping your home for sale, and good luck!